Drilon Gashi, a young and unconventional cleric who served for two years as imam at the mosque in the village of Vitomirica in Kosovo’s Peja/Pec municipality, said on Thursday that he has been dismissed by the Kosovo Islamic Community after he said he believed the theory of evolution developed by Charles Darwin.
In October 2018, Gashi told a Pristina-based television station that “the theory of evolution is the only contemporary theory that has managed to withstand the tempests of the times. So the arguments show that evolution is a fact.”
Gashi’s statement caused him to be suspended five months ago and now sacked.
“It has been proved that with his statement he contradicts Islamic doctrine and postulates that are based on the Koran and the Sunnah [the way of the prophet],” said the Islamic Community’s decision, which was made public by Gashi himself.
“By declaring evolution [to be a fact] without giving any single piece of proof… and by his statements that contradict Islamic principles, [Gashi] has caused dissatisfaction among colleagues and all over Kosovo as well as to Muslims by spreading falsehoods, and he has violated the interests of the Islamic Community in Kosovo,” added the decision, which was signed by the head of the Islamic Community, Naim Ternava.
Commenting on his dismissal, Gashi described the decision as the “reincarnation of the Inquisition” by the Islamic Community leadership.
“Their strange justification says that I breached Koranic and prophetic tradition. But I declare that I have always tried to convey… the truth and stay faithful to the righteous path of the Koran,” Gashi said in a statement.
He accused the Islamic Community leadership of “a lack of rational thinking”.
“If you want to work with them [the Islamic Community], they will not allow you to think critically or to have dialogue on the pretext that you are objecting the principles of listening and obedience,” he added.
In April this year, Gashi told Radio Free Europe that he has the support of his congregation and that Muslims “should believe the scientific facts”.